Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 11th 2014 Contents CAMILLE CLARKE
Three years ago the Government
cancelled an order for three offshore
patrol vessels (OPVs) but now National
Security Minister Gary Griffith says
one is needed.
Government received a settlement
of $1.382 billion from BAE Systems in
2012 after the order was cancelled.
In an interview yesterday, Griffith
said he was working with the Coast
Guard and other stakeholders to acquire
one of the vessels.
"I am liaising with relevant experts
and Air Guard personnel pertaining to
naval assets and a team involved in
naval architecture and seniors in the
Defence Force," he said.
Griffith said 200 sailors were needed
to man one of the vessels but the coun-
try didn t have sailors at the time the
OPVs were ordered.
"We did not want it to turn into a
"We didn t need three, we only need-
ed one. You don t spend $1,000 million
for a vessel for deep waters for the Gulf
of Paria. Ordinary people don t know
difference between the OPVs and an
interceptor," he said.
He said the ministry has looked at
vessels in Korea, Columbia, China, Hol-
land and Israel.
"You have to look at the type of water
and terrain. The cost is $400 million,"
Another issue that was brought into
question by Griffith was the acquisition
of four AgustaWestland helicopters.
He said the country had paid $2,400
million although the basic market price
was less than $100 million.
"It makes no sense to point fingers
and I have no intention to blame any-
one. We still have them and they have
many shortcomings. We got it at six
times the market price and an auditing
will be done shortly but it is not a
"We need to buy the correct type to
have proper surveillance," he said.
Referring to the rise in crime and
calls to revive the Flying Squad, he said,
"Definitely not, I have no desire to bring
back people in 60s and 70s. There is
a different array of technology, statistics,
30 years of law...strategy."
A highly trained task force with sim-
ilarities to the US Navy Seals, who are
prepared for hostage situations and ter-
rorist activity, was needed, Griffith said.
He said it should not be seen as a
unit competing with the police, as was
the former Special Anti-Crime Unit.
Saturday, January 11, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
St Joseph's Convent principal, Anna Pounder, presents The Caribbean
Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) award to Upper Six Award of Merit
Student, Felisa Tracey, at the St Joseph's Convent Chapel, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday during the school's awards function. : A A A E
Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley is crying shame on those
responsible for national security,
as only six per cent of serious
crimes committed in Port-of-
Spain were detected last year.
He said the crime detection rate
for the entire country last year
was only 18 per cent, and a number
of crimes were not reported, but
if they had been, the detection rate
in the capital city would have been
lower than six per cent.
Rowley said he secured the
crime statistics from the Crime
and Problem Analysis Branch of
the Police Service.
He was contributing to yester-
day s House of Representatives
debate on the Bail Amendment
Bill. It was the first sitting of the
Parliament since December 13,
when it went on its Christmas
The legislation is expected to be
defeated, as Rowley told legislators
the Opposition will not support
it, but the bill requires a special
He said those responsible for
protecting citizens from serious
crimes "should hang their heads
in shame and no amount of spin
and presentation of false informa-
tion could change that."
Rowley said the Government
response was to deny bail to people
who were suspected of committing
"No bail when you can t even
figure out who you are looking for
and hang who you can t even arrest
He said the detection rate in
Western Division was 11 per cent;
Northern Division, 16 per cent;
North Eastern Division, seven per
cent, and the only areas with rea-
sonable crime detection rates were
South Western Division, 45 per
cent; Eastern Division, 48 per cent
and Southern Division with 24 per
"All the other divisions have an
abysmal detection rates.
Rowley cries shame
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Griffith eyes OPV
for Coast Guard
People s National Movement
(PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley
yesterday said the Government
was dragging its feet in the
appointment of a permanent
Commissioner of Police because
it already had one senior officer
hand-picked for the post.
He made the statement during
his contribution to the yesterday s
debate on the Bail Ammendment
Bill in the House of Representatives,
Waterfront Complex, Port-of-
Rowley also read an e-mail
exchange in 2010, soon after the
Government took office, between
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar and the acting senior
superintendent Surajdeen Persad.
Persad, a deputy commissioner
of police, once headed the Police
Service Special Branch and was
instrumental in the investigation
in which 17 people were arrested
during the 2011 State of Emergency
over an alleged plot to kill Persad-
Bissessar and three other govern-
He said Persad was the Govern-
ment s pick for the Commissioner
of Police post.
Persad-Bissessar had written to
Persad to stop the "illegal activities"
of the Security Intelligence Agency
and its then director, Nigel
Rowley said Persad-Bissessar
believed Clement was in the
process of transcribing private con-
versations she had and asked for
steps to be taken to stop him.
He added: "So here it is the
Prime Minister of T&T, quite right-
ly, quite properly, has concerns
about the head of the Security
Intelligence Agency. What does she
do, as head of National Security
"She doesn t go to the council,
doesn t go to the commissioner
with that, she goes to Mr Persad,
an acting senior superintendent.
"The reason why the Govern-
ment has taken no steps so far, and
they can, to have a proper Police
Commissioner in place --- and they
are happy to have this extension
going on with this ten-day Com-
missioner --- is because it is the
Government s intention to make
Mr Persad the next Commissioner
of Police," he said.
Rowley said it was Persad who
was now in charge of the Strategic
Services Agency (SSA) and others
who were more eligible for the post
have been removed on his advice.
He said while any government
was entitled to change what it met,
the Government stopped important
information from coming to the
He said Brig Peter Joseph, former
head of the Special Anti-Crime
Unit, was also fired at the request
"He advised the Prime Minister
that he (Joseph) was working for
the PNM," Rowley said.
The Government has since set-
tled a lawsuit filed by Joseph for
wrongful dismissal for $1 million
Rowley said Persad told Persad-
Bissessar that information gathered
at the SIA could undermine the
Government. Persad also made
several recommendations which
included dismissals so as to "safe-
guard information reaching the
"Not to fight crime, though,"
He said those highly trained and
skilled officers were dismissed for
alleged loyalty to the PNM.
He added: "Now we know where
Reshmi (Ramnarine) come from.
As preposterous as that sounds,
that action (the hiring of Reshmi
Ramnarine) was taken by the Prime
Ramnarine, a junior technician,
was appointed director of the SSA
in early 2011, ahead of more qual-
ified personnel. She resigned eight
days after the appointment, when
questions were raised about her
Rowley warned the Government
to "perish any thought" of making
Persad the next Commissioner of
Police. He said the crime was out
of control because intelligence-
gathering was off kilter.
"You took a political decision,
victimised the officers politically
and now selected officers of your
choice and are now trying to train
them," he added.
Opposition Leader on appointment of top cop:
Govt has a
man in waiting
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